Brands like Dettol to Durex are focussed on moving creativity from data to behaviour in markets like India

Campaign India's Prasad Sangameshwaran reports on a creativity sessions at Cannes Lions 2019. The panel had Jay Pattisall, principal analyst, Forrester Research, Laurent Faracci, EVP of global category development, RB Health, Kimberley Gardiner, VP and CMO, Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. and Jeff Robertson, CMO, Blue Shield of California discussing the value of creativity.

19 Jun 2019 | By WhatPackaging? Team

If you are amongst those whose loyalties remain with the creative fraternity, the opening session at the Debussy Theatre during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019, brings in a lot to smile about.  

But the bad news first.  

As Pattisall took stage he spoke about how the healthy balance and healthy tension between agency executives and their clients was under threat. The shift of marketing spends towards data and tech has hurt agencies with the business growing barely at the rate of inflation in markets like the US, he said.  

Has the value of agency creativity disappeared, he wondered, and said that execution was the biggest casualty.   As a result, the CX or customer experience had stalled. Forrester numbers reveal that CX is flat for 4th year running and "zero brands in the study are rated as excellent". So, why are they languishing?  

In their enthusiasm to invest behind marketing technology, marketers have commoditised the brand and experience. For instance, all airline apps are designed to facilitate check-in, manage travel and generate a boarding pass. Or if you take the cases of Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs), all apps offered the same things. They were designed using the same technology and built for the same devices, leading to a huge lack of differentiation. He said, we need creativity to make the difference. While the adtech and martech were growing at 11 per cent, agencies were growing at a mere two percent. "We are over funding tech and underfunding creativity," he said. For every one per cent drop in CX, there is a two per cent decline in returns.   

Pattisall said, "Companies should move 19 bn from tech to creativity over the next six years. It will achieve additional returns to the tune of 10 bn,' he said emphasising that is the true value of agency creativity.   

Pattisall was joined on stage by the CMOs for a short and quick discussion. The starting point: Creative experience is the new CX. "It brings tech data and creativity together and then aligns message, channel and audience," said Pattisall.   

Jeff Robertson, CMO, Blue Shield of California said that the entire process of information exchange in the healthcare space was undergoing a rapid change. "Invest in creativity and display tools as 90 per cent interaction of consumers will move online from 60 per cent at present," was his submission.   

Invest through the funnel, added Kimberley Gardiner, VP and CMO, Mitsubishi Motors North America. She said traditionally car marketing had invested in the top funnel, but did not maintain the same standards in the mid and lower funnel leading to a decline in CX. She said the time had come to focus investments on the entire funnel. 

Laurent Faracci, EVP, global category development, RB Health, said that the company behind brands like Dettol to Durex was focusing on moving creativity from data to behaviour in markets as diverse as India to Russia where consumer needs are different.

Award at Cannes

Indian entries at Cannes have risen even more this year, up by 8%. But India has underperformed in its traditional stronghold in the health and pharma categories.

The CMO of a large consumer brand whose 15-person delegation spent all day viewing the work. The Cannes Lion chairman, Philip Thomas said, "Cannes has gone from ‘here’s an interesting place to come and talk to our agencies’ to ‘this is the place where we’re going to understand creativity because it’s going to drive our business’. It’s a real fundamental shift."

Brand Experience and Activation Lions   
Four of India’s 82 entries in the category have made it to the shortlist. Dentsu Webchutney has two of them for Hagglebot for Flipkart. FCB Ulka’s The open door project for The Millennium School and Ogilvy’s Waterproof Saree for Hamam are also in contention.   

Creative E-Commerce Lions   
Dentsu Webchutney has two shortlists in this category too for Flipkart’s ‘Hagglebot’. A total of 13 Indian entries were submitted in this category.   

Creative Effectiveness  
FCB Ulka got India’s only shortlist from the 22 entries sent for ‘Sindoor Khela - #NoConditionsApply’ for The Times of India.